Premiering at Sundance this year, Julian Rosefeldt’s Manifesto saw Cate Blanchett, one of the greatest actresses of all time, delivering a career best performance in 13 distinct, must-see vignettes. Blanchett seamlessly transitions from character to character, whether she’s portraying a school teacher, a homeless man, or a puppeteer and yes, her puppet. The natural charisma from Blanchett radiates the screen as the film establishes a tone of quirkiness from the get-go. Clearly, Blanchett is having a blast here as she buys into each character and shows off her chameleon-like characteristics while showing off nuanced mannerisms of each role – all manifestos from 20th century art movements.
Originally a video art exhibit shown in New York and Berlin, the short films are compiled into one project which represent art and its purpose. Blanchett offers extended speeches throughout the film that come off as if it is live theater. The dense dialogue can be heady at times but Blanchett’s performance is profound and humor can be found in her reenactment of recognizable 20th century artistic writing.
Manifesto can be seen as highbrow to some, while others consider it a compelling study in the ideology of art. The film itself is innovative in the way the story is told by director Julian Rosefeldt. The 94 minute runtime seems reasonable but the abnormal narrative may result in viewers sitting through a long and tedious watch. Without Blanchett the film wouldn’t reach its full potential. Her star status alone will convince cinephiles to take a chance on the film. After her role of Bob Dylan in I’m Not There it seemed like Blanchett had reached her creative ceiling but that’s not the case as she tackles 13 roles that range from goofy to out right bizarre. Manifesto presents some intriguing ideas of how artists express their intentions to an artistic movement, but it’s Blanchett’s triumphant performance that makes it worthwhile.
Manifesto opens in Vancouver on June 16, Toronto on June 30, and Montreal on July 7, 2017.
Follow us on Twitter @GetReelMovies